Nottingham railway station fire: Woman jailed for arson

Media caption,
Nottingham station fire: CCTV shows arsonist at scene of £5.6m blaze

A woman has been jailed for 25 months for starting a fire that caused £5.6m of damage to a railway station.

Gemma Peat, 34, admitted starting the blaze in the women's toilets at Nottingham station on 12 January 2018.

Nottingham Crown Court heard more than 100 firefighters were needed to bring the blaze under control as it ripped through the building.

The court heard Peat accidentally set fire to a sanitary bin after taking heroin and crack in the toilets.

A worker changing the sanitary bins went into the toilets at 06:18 and raised the alarm.

The court heard the fire was only able to spread to the station's "linking bridge" due to defects in the building's construction.

Image source, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption,
An absence of sprinklers was one factor in the spread of the fire

Grace Hale, prosecuting, said Peat, of Wilford Crescent in Nottingham, had told police other drug users had been in the building at the time, which were "attempts to deflect blame from her to others".

Sentencing, Judge Gregory Dickinson QC told Peat - who had committed 108 previous offences, including shoplifting, possession of knives and assaulting emergency workers - the fire "must have been smouldering as you left".

Media caption,
Nottingham railway station fire: Footage from burnt-out toilets released

"You should have realised but you might not have done in your drugged-up state," he said.

"This fire was started recklessly, thoughtlessly but not deliberately. The prosecution accept you didn't intend to cause damage or harm.

"In fact, you weren't thinking anything except about taking drugs."

Image source, British Transport Police
Image caption,
Gemma Peat admitted a single count of arson

The court was also told the station's builders had "cut corners" by packing the wall supporting the toilet block with a foot of highly flammable polystyrene after realising the ceiling was uneven.

Judge Dickinson said those responsible for building the station should realise their mistakes in not fitting smoke alarms or sprinklers in the toilets, and in the defects of the roof and the combustible materials that were used.

He added that staff should have been quicker in raising the alarm.

Image source,
Image caption,
The fire caused significant damage but the station reopened the day after the blaze

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